Councillor urges community to be aware of phone scams

Ballycastle Sinn Féin Councillor, Cara McShane, has advised people to be aware of various telephone scams, where the caller is trying to con ordinary people out of a lot of money.

Cllr McShane said she was aware of two separate incidents in Moyle in the past few days, where people were contacted in a scam to obtain funds from their bank accounts.

Cllr Cara McShane said: “One incident involved a caller claiming to be from BT, who contacted a young family in the District, and tried to convince the bill-payer that there was a fault with their internet hub. The caller further claimed that they needed the account details to access their computer remotely and then proceeded to request their bank account details. While the account holder never passed on their bank account details, the incident was extremely upsetting for the victims and ultimately left them out of pocket, as the scammer had accessed their computer and loaded it with viruses. Although BT has now been aware of the incident, this is a reminder to everyone to be on their guard to such bogus calls.

“In a completely separate scam to another family in Moyle, the caller claimed to be from the ‘fraud squad’ and told the couple in the house that there had been a recent attempt made for a large transaction using one of their bank cards. The caller claimed that in order for the transaction to be stopped, the account holder needed to hang up the telephone immediately and call their bank with the details of their bank cards. The scam in this phone-call is that the potential victim will be in such a distressed state that they will hang up and call their bank without delay, while in-fact the scam caller is still on the other side of the phone-line, waiting for the person to unwittingly give all of the details of their bank card to the scammer.

“Thankfully on both these occasions, the householders caught on to the scams just moments before it was too late.”

Cllr Cara McShane urged people to never give specific bank account details over the phone: “The nature of both scam calls was very convincing, and in such distressing circumstances, people are likely to be extremely anxious and panicked, and not giving focused attention on thinking of the authenticity of the call.

“There are many other people who are much more vulnerable to such incidents and I would therefore urge everyone to exercise extreme caution and not to give out personal information such as bank account details over the phone.”